Hearing Loss, Social Isolation, and Loneliness: Study Links These to Increased Risk of Mortality

2023-10-13 | Hearing Health, Hearing loss, Patient Resources

My greatest concern is that those who continue to put off getting treatment for their hearing loss continue to sink deeper in the mire as their hearing challenges worsen and their loneliness and isolation deepen.

It’s important to consider your mental health as you age, especially if you are experiencing hearing challenges. Doing so could save your life or that of a loved one. 

Social isolation and loneliness are common among individuals with hearing loss because they feel left out of what’s going on around them and begin to avoid social activities. Unfortunately, social isolation can have detrimental effects on your overall health. 

A study published in Nature Human Behaviour journal in June 2023 reveals that individuals who experience social isolation have a 32 percent higher risk of premature death than those who are not socially isolated. 

At SLENT Hearing and Balance Center, we recognize that social isolation is among the most devastating consequences of untreated hearing loss because of its potential to exacerbate other health conditions. 

This month’s blog will take a closer look at the health consequences of social isolation and how you can reduce your risk of developing serious health conditions that may threaten your lifestyle and your life. 

How Much Are You at Risk? 

Evidence uncovered by the meta-analysis of 90 studies, conducted from 1986 to 2022, on social isolation and its health consequences shows that social isolation increases the risk of someone dying of cancer by 24 percent, of breast cancer by 33 percent, and of heart problems by 34 percent. 

Additionally, an individual with a heart condition who is also socially isolated has a 28 percent increased risk of death from any cause, not just their heart condition. 

The study identified four major potential links between social isolation, loneliness, and risk of death, all of which can also be linked to hearing challenges: 

1. Increased stress levels, which can affect glucose levels, metabolism, inflammatory response, reproductive system, and cardiovascular system 

3. An increase in harmful behaviors like smoking, alcohol use, poor diet, and reduced exercise 

2. Mental health impacts, especially depression and cognitive decline.

4. Reduced likelihood of receiving routine or emergency medical care, due to a reduced social network or poor communication regarding their condition

How Does Hearing Loss Affect Loneliness and Isolation? 

Whether you’re struggling to keep up with a conversation in a noisy environment or feeling left out of the lives of friends and family because you can’t understand what they’re saying during a social gathering, the connections between social isolation, loneliness, and untreated hearing loss go hand in hand. 

My greatest concern is that those who continue to put off getting treatment for their hearing loss continue to sink deeper in the mire as their hearing challenges worsen and their loneliness and isolation deepen. 

On the other hand, there are very few individuals who seek treatment and regret their decision. In fact, most wish they had taken action sooner. 

Fortunately, our patients are more than happy to share their positive experiences on their journeys to better hearing.

We hope that their testimonies will offer some encouragement to you.  

hearing assessment

SLENT Hearing and Balance Center Can Help 

I know firsthand the impact untreated hearing loss has on loneliness and social isolation, so I’m passionate about doing all I can to encourage more people to prioritize regular hearing assessments. 

If you or someone you know is losing confidence or disconnecting with the world around them, it could be related to hearing loss. Encourage them to have their hearing tested, because you could be saving a life. 

Click here to request a callback, and a member of our team will call you to answer questions or help with scheduling an appointment.

Don’t want to wait? You can also call us at 985-273-5795 to get the help you need. 

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Dr. JJ Martinez, AuD, FAAA

J.J. was born in Wichita, KS, and was brought up in a Marine Corps family. Following in his father’s footsteps, he joined the Marine Corps after high school and was stationed in Camp Lejeune, NC. After going to college at Southeastern Louisiana University, he went to graduate school and got his doctorate degree from Louisiana State University Health Science Center in New Orleans, LA. Soon after, he started his career in audiology and became board certified in Audiology.


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